An effective IT strategy is essential for achieving and maintaining a successful business. But so many small business owners neglect it, and forget to align it with their broader business plans. Here's why you should take another look at your IT strategy and align it with your business one.
Information technology should never be thought of as a commodity; it's an investment. With the right IT, you can grow your business and take advantage of new opportunities.
Unfortunately, many businesses don't have a strong link between their business strategy and IT - even though that link can make all the difference between success and failure.
What is an IT strategy? And why should it align with your business strategy?
An IT strategy identifies existing problems with your technology setup, and the changes required to ensure your business is running smoothly now and in the future. As the world rapidly changes and becomes more global, your business needs to evolve too. Evolving your business and your IT helps you remain competitive while keeping costs down.
The main objective of an IT strategy, therefore, is to support your business strategy with information technology capabilities.
Further reading :
- How proactive IT management keeps your business on its feet
- 5 essential bits of IT advice for small businesses
Things to consider as part of your IT strategy
Taking into consideration future goals, a flexible IT strategy should evolve as your business grows. By being responsive to changes in your business circumstances, such as budget constraints and new technologies, your business can continue to operate and thrive without any hiccups.
Here are a few things you should consider when devising your IT strategy:
Resource optimisation and cost reduction
To ensure that your IT capabilities are being used efficiently, you need to take into account all areas of technology management within your business. This includes:
- Cost management
- Workforce management
- Risk management
Taking all these things into account will help you identify opportunities to reduce things like purchasing expenses or overhead costs. It will also help you recognise and implement ways to improve productivity, which will further boost your bottom line. You can improve productivity in several ways, such as:
- Improving communications systems and technologies
- Making remote and mobile working options available to employees
- Implementing a mobile device plan
Sales and operations management
Sales, marketing and other operations should also be considered in your IT strategy.
When you're putting your strategy together, make sure you consult your marketing and communications plan (if you have one) and ensure your IT can support its goals. Being able to support your marketing and communications activities is important for maintaining good customer relations, and will help you respond quickly to new sales opportunities.
Aligning your IT strategy with your sales and marketing operations will also help with things like optimising your business inventory, and predicting demand to ensure that you stay ahead of the game.
Growth and new technologies
The point of any IT strategy is to help a business, regardless of its size, prepare for growth.
By adopting a scalable plan, your business will be in a good position to cope with increased levels of customer demand, a larger workforce and other changes.
Furthermore, your business will become more efficient and productive once you redesign and streamline internal processes. This applies not only to businesses with poor IT systems but also to those with an efficient system. There is always room for improvement.
- IT application upgrade checklist for growing small businesses
- Technology: the tool that SMBs use to power growth
It's time to align
Aligning your IT strategy with your broader business plans will help you take advantage of every opportunity, grow your business and stay ahead of the competition. And it's so easy it to do.
If you need some help, let us know. We’re more than happy to lend a hand and share our expertise.
Note: This blog post is modified from the original courtesy of our friend James Cash of Superfast IT. It was originally published on 6 February 2014 and has since been updated.